I had the great pleasure of traveling through Europe for seven weeks with Jackson accompanying me for two and half of them. The previous weeks were spent with my best friend Hanna as we explored Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain. Halfway through the adventure Hanna left for home.

I met Jackson in Munich, and we continued our stay there with my cousins. We thoroughly enjoyed the German breakfast served every morning made up of soft pretzels, yogurt, and spreadable cheese among other goodies. After breakfast, we would wonder the streets, see museums and shop around Munich. We also fell in love with the culture and new favorite beverages, for example, the Radler. We soon left Munich to escape the city and enter the beautiful country of Switzerland. 

Our first stay in Switzerland was in Interlaken, a small town in between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and alongside the Aare River. We checked in at The Tent Village, a small community of tents surrounding the outdoors. The tents offered were very spacious, and we were thrilled to be in such an awesome outdoorsy European town. Each day we hiked to views of the Jungfrau, walked through town, or went paragliding and enjoyed meeting the lovely folks that filled the town. Our favorite food in Interlaken was a meal we had at one of the local restaurants where we ordered cheese fondue with an assortment of breads, fruits, and vegetables for us to enjoy.

After a few days, we traveled by train further into the Alps Mountains in search of the famous Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland. We walked into the cramped Matterhorn Hostel, which was filled with mountaineers and skiers eagerly talking about the summer snow conditions and how the weather was on the ski hill the previous day. We hiked lots in Zermatt to see the Matterhorn up close and the surrounding wilderness.

On the last day we got fed up with all our friends and surrounding people talking about the ski conditions, so we decided we needed our fill of first-time European summer skiing. We lacked any kind of ski outfit since we had just spent days on the European beaches. Jackson and I were just eager to ski that we did not care how we would look. We stood as tourists amongst a crowd of primarily serious skiers in real skiing attire. Our outfits included long underwear, small jackets, hooded cotton sweatshirts, and short socks. We rented Atomic race skis and boots and embarrassed ourselves as we clunked through the quiet town to the gondola. We experienced some of the best summer conditions we have skied and got to see an insane view from above. We even got to ski alongside the Swiss National team training for the upcoming winter and Jackson got into the terrain park and busted some tricks on his rented skis. Although we looked ridiculous, I will always look back at it as one of the best days in my life. We were free from anyone’s expectations and making fun in the snow during summer time and high in the Alps with the marvelous Matterhorn reigning in the distance. After skiing, we had the European après-skiing experience you see in the movies and headed to bed.  

The next morning we left to go to Montreux, Switzerland. We spent a night on the lake and the headed back to Linderhof, Germany where we visited my other cousins, uncles, and aunts. We drove into Garmisch for lunch from the train and then headed to Linderhof where we got to tour the “Schloss Linderhof”. It was an amazing experience and will always remain in my memory as some of the best times of my life.

-Petra Zeiler